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Saturday, April 15, 2023
About the Book
Book: The Lieutenant’s Secret Love
Author: Elva Cobb Martin
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Release date: April 11, 2023
An exposed family secret changed her life forever and blindsided his Marine heart.
From the day Hannah was abandoned as a newborn, her adoptive parents have kept the truth of her origin from her and her siblings. But when that secret is exposed, a threat arises which forces her to leave the only family she’s ever known and the adoptive brother she adores. She must start her life anew in Charleston.
U.S. Marine Lieutenant Adam White, harbors a secret—more confidential than patrolling the Caribbean for French corsairs, more threatening than the fight against Barbary pirates in the Mediterranean. Adam carries a personal, burning secret in his heart. He’s fallen in love with Hannah since discovering she is not his blood sister. And the thought that she might only ever see him as her loving big brother may be the greatest threat to him yet.
As the Charleston men seek to win Hannah’s heart, she never loses touch with the man who had been her older brother. The man her heart can’t help seeing him in a whole new light. But when Adam’s squadron sets out for the Mediterranean on the most dangerous mission of his life, only God can keep him—and their love—alive.
Elva Cobb Martin is a wife, mother, and grandmother who lives in South Carolina with her husband and a mini-dachshund. A life-long student of history, her favorite city, Charleston, inspires her stories of romance and adventure. Her love of writing grew out of a desire to share exciting stories of courageous characters and communicate truths of the Christian faith to bring hope and encouragement. Connect with her on her web site at http://www.elvamartin.com.
More from Elva
Researching our true American history for this novel inspired me so much in a day when many are trying to ignore or wipe out our Christian foundations and heroic acts. I want to share two particular true stories which I use in my novel that should bless and inspire you, too.
First, I set my story the year after President George Washington died. He died December 14, 1799, after a bout of laryngitis following a horseback ride in the snow to check his plantation. But truly, his death was brought on by the horrid bleeding (phlebotomy) common in that day that three prominent physicians put him through. History records they bled eight quarts from his body in about thirteen hours. The physicians soon observed… “that he expired without a struggle.” –Of course he couldn’t struggle, with all that blood loss. I’ve told you this to tell you Washington’s last words.
Washington, at about eleven o’clock in the evening, uttered his last words: “Father of mercies, take me unto thyself,” and “tis well.”
On Washington’s tomb at Mount Vernon is engraved: “I am the Resurrection and the Life; saith the Lord. He that believeth in Me, though he were dead yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.”
The Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., which is 555 feet tall, has engraved on its metal cap the Latin phrase “Laus Deo,” which means “Praise be to God.”
The other true story of our history that inspired me proves the bravery and derring-do of the fledging Navy and Marines during Thomas Jefferson’s presidency. Many don’t know that Washington actually disbanded the original Navy right after the Revolution as he had no intention of putting this almost penniless new nation into any more wars or try to find the money to support a Navy.
But Barbary Muslim pirates in the Mediterranean started plundering our merchant ships no longer under British protection and taking entire crews into slavery. We ended up paying huge sums of tribute for questionable protection and hefty ransoms to redeem any of our crews taken into slavery. President Thomas Jefferson saw the great need for a strong Navy and went about securing it during his two terms (1801-.1809). A famous byword of those days became: “Millions for defense, not a cent for tribute.”
Naval heroes like William Eaton, Edward Preble, Stephen Decatur, and Marine lieutenant Presley O’Bannon blazoned across our history during the turbulent wars against the Muslim Barbary pirates and sultans. One incident stands out that I decided to include in my novel with my fictional hero, Marine Lieutenant Adam White, added to the story and my heroine Hannah, awaiting letters from him.
Jefferson and Congress commissioned the building of a Navy frigate, the USS Philadelphia, the largest, most modern for the period, to do battle in this Barbary war. America was proud of this ship and it’s potential. But to everyone’s dismay, the Philadelphia got stuck on a sand bar near Tripoli’s harbor, and soon ended up captured by the Tripoli pirates, and its crew taken into slavery. Even though the American captain damaged the ship as best he could before being forced to surrender it, the horror was compounded when the Muslims bragged they would soon repair the ship and use it against us. President Jefferson, Congress, the Navy, and all America suffered some dark days indeed.
But naval hero Stephen Decatur came up with a daring, dangerous plan to slip into the well-guarded Tripoli Harbor where the ship was anchored while being repaired. He chose a few handpicked Marines (my novel hero included!) who would attempt to burn the Philadelphia and keep it from ever being used against us. They would have no Navy backup and would all end up in slavery if the Muslims discovered them.
You’ll have to read my novel (or do research) to find out how this ended!
What made this book so interesting to me was the rich history the author provided to capture the realistic time period. We learn about the ships that sailed the seas to protect Americans and the brave men who served without hesitation. I learned about how George Washington died and was quite shocked at what really happened to him. If only the physicians had known that what they thought was the correct treatment really made him weaker by the hour.
The Navy and Marines were the heroes in this story. Shipping off to secret missions and encountering pirates was just part of what they faced on the open sea. Dealing with weather that can sink a ship was also a threat to the many who served. I admired Adam and his bravery. The assignments he was given were scary yet he did them with honor and dedication. He did have a secret that he has kept to himself for awhile which inserts itself into the story well.
Hannah didn’t have a great start to life as she was abandoned on the road. By God’s grace a family found her and raised her as their own. She became a very intelligent young woman who wanted to become a nurse. Although her and Adam have been raised as brother and sister, the author gives us a surprise that changes their relationship. I loved how this part of the story was slowly revealed and seemed honest and pure.
There are some really good moments in the story where God shines. Hannah has a chance to not only meet someone who abandoned her but also is given the opportunity to lead them to Christ. This for me was the most important part of the entire story. We witness someone who thought their sins were too much and God would not forgive them. What a beautiful illustration of forgiveness and surrendering to God as Hannah not only forgives this person but watches a true miracle happen when they declare God as their savior.
With a well researched book and a story of love and forgiveness this will be an enjoyable historical book for all.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
Sometimes the hardest battles take place in the heart.
Poverty and abuse at the hands of her drunkard father leaves Hannah Bane trapped and alone. Without hope, she prays for a miracle just on the off-chance God will hear her. Will the handsome new deputy, who seems to be watching her every move, be Hannah’s one chance to escape the only life she’s ever known?
For as long as he can remember, John Mark Eliason has wanted to be a deputy sheriff. When a job opens in the nearby town of Poplar Springs, he eagerly accepts, but finds his greatest mission won’t be tracking down criminals and bringing justice to the ruthless Wyoming town, but saving a beautiful young woman he barely knows.
Will an unexpected answer to a difficult situation show how love can endure—and even thrive—in an unconventional situation? Or will fear and uncertainty keep two hesitant hearts apart?
In the sequel to Forgotten Memories, author Penny Zeller weaves a tender tale of faith, romance, and humor in a memorable story that reminds us God hears every prayer and has a plan for every life.
Wyoming Sunrise Series Prequel: Love’s New Beginnings (Lydie and Solomon’s story) Book One: Forgotten Memories Book Two: Dreams of the Heart Book Three: When Love Comes (December 5, 2023)
Penny Zeller is known for her heartfelt stories of faith and her passion to impact lives for Christ through fiction. While she has had a love for writing since childhood, she began her adult writing career penning articles for national and regional publications on a wide variety of topics.
Today Penny is a multi-published author of over a dozen books. She is also a homeschool mom and a group fitness instructor. Her desire is to assist and nurture women into a closer relationship with Christ.
When Penny is not dreaming up new characters, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters and camping, hiking, canoeing, reading, running, gardening, and playing volleyball.
Penny is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and loves to hear from her readers at her website, www.pennyzeller.com, her blog, www.pennyzeller.wordpress.com, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pennyzellerbooks. To subscribe to her monthly newsletter with book news and other fun morsels, please go to https://dashboard.mailerlite.com/forms/262119/74964679867237940/share
More from Penny
A handsome deputy sheriff.
A woman in search of freedom.
An unconventional situation.
These three statements sum up the faith, tender romance, and plentiful humor found on the pages of Dreams of the Heart.
Some highlights during the writing of this book:
I conducted a lot of research on sheriffs because John Mark, one of the main characters, is a deputy sheriff in the small and lawless fictional town of Poplar Springs in 1894.
Many of us have heard of famous Old West lawmen such as the Earp brothers (Kansas, Texas, and Arizona), Doc Holliday (Arizona), and Pat Garrett (New Mexico). In my research, I also learned of a Wyoming Territorial sheriff named Christopher Castle who, with his deputies, noted the amount of money an outlaw had in his pocket when arrested. Later, when a fine was assessed, it was that exact amount.
A fun fact: some of the duties for Old West sheriffs included keeping the peace, collecting taxes, issuing liquor licenses, keeping the streets clear of dead animals, and cleaning up manure.
There is a brief Wild West shootout in Dreams of the Heart inspired by an historical Wyoming character’s experience.
John Mark carries a Colt Peacemaker revolver. While writing the book, I accidentally typed in “Colt Pacemaker”. Glad I caught it, although I’m sure it would have given my editors a laugh.
John Mark’s favorite cookie, the sugar cookie, is believed to have its origins in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, and was named the “Nazareth cookie”. Enjoy the following recipe for the cookies mentioned in the book.
Lydie’s Sugar Cookies
Combine the following:
½ c. butter
1 c. sugar
¼ c. milk
½ tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking powder
2 c. flour
Roll out on floured board with rolling pin and use cookie cutters.
Bake at 325° for 8-10 minutes.
This has been a nice story about a marriage of convenience. I liked how the author didn’t write a typical story where the bride travels to another town to marry a stranger. We meet Hannah who has suffered abuse all her life from her Pa. He is as mean as they come and forces Hannah to wait for him every night outside the saloon. She barely has any food to eat and her clothes are so threadbare that at any time they could become rags. Hannah knows what poverty is like and she dreams that someday she will have a better life. I loved her deep faith and how kind she was to everyone.
John Mark is hardworking and places himself in danger each day as deputy sheriff. There is always someone breaking the law which keeps him busy. I liked that his father is a preacher and John Mark goes to him for guidance when needed. After seeing how mistreated Hannah has had to endure he devises a plan to save her from her Pa. It is a great plan if he can convince her Pa to agree to the terms.
I loved how the author shares the emotional side of both characters as they find themselves in a situation that may be uncomfortable for them . I admire John Mark for stepping up and rescuing Hannah and being honorable. His selfless act in will save Hannah from more abuse if he can keep her Pa away from her.
There is a little action in the story with a gunfight that shows how John Mark cares for Hannah and will risk his life for her. It is a beautiful story where two people learn to trust and how Hannah never gave up on her dream for a better life.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
Sometimes, all you need is a second chance at love.
Let the adventure begin …
Rylan McIntosh was twenty-three years old when Savannah McKenzie shattered his world. Everything was almost perfect … until she disappeared. Nearly seven years later, Savannah stands before him with not a hint of remorse. The naive young girl is gone and the woman in her place is at the top of her game. She’s all glam in a tailored suit, acting like they were nothing more than mere acquaintances. But she’s forgotten something—how relentless he can be.
Having experienced more than her fair share of tragedy, the last thing Savannah wants is to contend with Rylan. Back then, she’d surrendered to her feelings for him and conceded to his request for a relationship … well, until she was forced to flee. Seeing Rylan again stirs up buried memories she has no intention of reviving.
All bets are off as they battle through the hurt and pain of their shared past. Savannah begs for a truce and, surprisingly, Rylan agrees. That’s until he discovers a web of secrets and lies that run deeper than he could have ever imagined. Still, some connections are too powerful to ignore. Will Rylan and Savannah develop the courage to leave the past behind? Will they allow God to restore what has been broken?
Standalone books in the McIntosh Brothers series:
Book 1 – Dream Again (The story of Carter McIntosh & Gianna Barrett)
Book 2 – Love Again (The story of Rylan McIntosh & Savannah McKenzie)
Ann Marie Bryan is an entrepreneur, bestselling author, and writing consultant, with more than a decade of experience providing top-notch literary services and innovative personal and professional development solutions to clients. As Founder and CEO of Victorious By Design, she uses her extensive knowledge and experience in human resources, information technology, banking, and writing to bring a well-rounded perspective when working with clients.
A Christian fiction author, Ann Marie writes to inspire and empower others. Her celebrated bestselling Encounters of the Heart series, blends faith and romance. In addition, Ann Marie serves as the Editor-in-Chief of VBD Magazine, a quarterly literary and empowerment resource for the faith-based community. When she is not writing and training, Ann Marie enjoys speaking at conferences, retreats, workshops, and special events.
Ann Marie’s greatest passion is to empower others to succeed by tapping into their God-given potential. She enjoys writing, reading, dancing, teaching, meeting people, and traveling. With all the knowledge and experiences that God has so graciously blessed her with, Ann Marie is determined to make her life a ministry for the Lord. For further information about Ann Marie, please visit www.annmariebryan.com or https://www.victoriousbydesign.com.
More from Ann Marie
I am thankful that you are a part of this amazing Love Again tour. It was a pleasure to write Love Again, the highly anticipated second installment in the McIntosh Brothers Series. Intensely emotional yet beautifully romantic, Love Again is a deeply moving story about faith, courage, a second chance at love… and what it really means to be a family.
In this novel, you’ll witnessed the growing relationship between Rylan McIntosh and Savannah McKenzie as they deal with the pain of the past and develop the courage to leave it all behind. While romance and drama are happening in this novel, the central message is to stay the course as you pursue your purpose.
I pray Love Again strengthens your faith in the Lord, and that you will be “… confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 (NKJV). God has a way of moving through time to ensure that all things work for our good. Whatever season you’re in, may God continue to bless and keep you.
Thank you for touring with me and for taking the time to read Love Again. Stay victorious.
When I do a review I am always honest and point out things in a book I liked that pointed me to God in some way. This story definitely has good lessons on forgiveness, second chances and relying on God. I liked how the author walks us through a difficult situation and shows how God can soften hearts. Forgiveness is a huge part of this book and contains many scriptures and times when the characters prayed for guidance.
Now for the hard part I have to deliver in a graceful way. The author has used some words that are not something I think should be in a Christian fiction book. It offended me and made me ask God to not let me be judgmental upon any way as I write this review. I cannot overlook the lust that ran rampant in the book and at the end there is a scene that can only be described as sexual content. The book had such a good lesson but with this type of writing scattered in the story it missed the mark of me being able to recommend the book to anyone.
I received a copy of this book from Cerebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
Miss Gwendolyn Brinley accepted a temporary paid companion position for the Newport summer season, believing it would be a lark to spend the summer in America’s most exclusive town. She suddenly finds her summer turning anything but amusing when her employer expects her to take over responsibilities as an assistant matchmaker. Tasked with the daunting prospect of attaining advantageous matches for her clients, Gwendolyn soon finds herself in the employ of Mr. Walter Townsend, the catch of the Season, but a gentleman Gwendolyn finds beyond irritating.
Walter Townsend is reluctantly in search of a wife for the sake of his unruly motherless children who cannot keep a governess for long. What he wasn’t expecting was Miss Brinley, an amateur matchmaker who turns his quest for a new wife into a complete and utter debacle. Constantly besieged by society ladies on a mission to win his affection, Walter must find a way to overcome their inundating attention–and his unexpected attraction toward Gwendolyn.
The more time they spend together throughout the Newport Season, the harder it is for Gwendolyn to find Walter a wife when she realizes his perfect match might be . . . her.
Named one of the funniest voices in inspirational romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today bestselling author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publishers Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. She and her family live outside of Denver, Colorado. Readers can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and at jenturano.com.
More from Jen
A Chat with Jen Turano
You’re known for writing historical romantic comedies set in the Gilded Age. What made you decide to write in that particular era?
Funny thing, when I first tried my hand at writing historical, I wrote Regency—think Jane Austen, lots of drama, dukes, and probably a few countesses in serious need of attitude adjustments. One of those books, I believe I titled it A Marriage of Inconvenience, is the book that landed me my first agent. But, as she was shopping that book around, I read this fascinating book about Alva Vanderbilt. There was so much drama involved with the New York Four Hundred during the latter part of the nineteenth century that I threw myself into researching everything I could find about high society. I’ve been writing about that fascinating moment in time ever since.
Your new series revolves around matchmaking. How did you come up with that idea, and what can we expect?
I’ve been wanting to do a matchmaker series forever, and that idea reinforced when I watched Season 4 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and there was a prevalent matchmaking thread. However, I didn’t want to do a normal matchmaker story, which is why I decided it would be hilarious to have a heroine accept a paid companion position and then, due to unforeseen circumstances, find herself turned into an assistant matchmaker even though she has absolutely no experience with matchmaking in general and is actually old enough to be considered a confirmed spinster.
How do you come up with such unusual ideas?
I think I just view life a little differently. I’ve always been rather weird, so when I think of matchmaking agencies, or lady detectives, or hat makers, I begin thinking up all these outlandish situations and then, just when my heroine or hero thinks that nothing else could go wrong, I throw something else at them. It’s a highly amusing job at times, although I’m certain my characters don’t appreciate my odd sense of humor.
Do you have a favorite character or book?
I adore Gertrude Cadwalader from Out of the Ordinary, although that’s not my favorite book. My favorite book is Diamond in the Rough because Poppy Garrison gets herself in some fabulous messes.
Your characters do seem to find themselves in some interesting mishaps and messes. Do you write these from personal experience?
You know, I have to admit that a lot of the outlandish situations I write are based on either observations I’ve made over the years or . . . yep, they’ve happened to me or my friends. I’ve definitely led an interesting life, although I do embellish the situations in some instances—creative license and all that.
How do you come up with such unusual names?
Contrary to what some may believe, I don’t make up any of my names. I scour old obituaries or shake down my friends who are into researching their ancestors for cool names. That’s how I got Mercy Miner, Temperance Flowerdew, and Lucetta Plum.
What’s coming up next?
I just finished up developmental edits for the second book in the Matchmakers series, so now I’ll go back to writing the third and final book in that series. After that? Well, I’m not positive yet. I have two ideas roaming around in my head for the next series I’ll delve into, but I simply don’t know which one I want to write quite yet.
Thanks so much for having me! Always fun being here with your readers.
All the best,
I love the author’s humor when she writes and this book is full of laugh out loud moments. The first book in this new series is a delightful look at matchmaking with a side of antics that heighten the story with chaos. Gwendolyn is such a fun character to follow with her no nonsense ethics and need to prove herself to her employer. I laughed when she soon discovered that she not only was going to be a companion to Mrs. Parker but also her matchmaking assistant. Poor thing has no idea what she is getting herself into as she begins her summer. I liked how Gwendolyn was not afraid to speak her mind when encountering people who try to, well let’s just say try to push themselves forward in a race to marry a certain gentleman. The women were not shy about tripping each other or spilling a drink on one of their competitors.
Walter is easy to figure out as he knows that he really needs a wife to help him with his three children. During the time period the story is written, the women were to be in charge of all the children’s needs and the husband was out making money. It is evident that Walter knows very little about his children when they continue to cause havoc wherever they go. I loved his children and knew they needed someone to step in and show them love while disciplining them to understand right from wrong. Walter has an encounter with Gwendolyn that doesn’t go well but she does learn what he is looking for in a wife. Their banter is fun and entertaining as Gwendolyn is now assigned to find him the perfect match. What Gwendolyn does question is why he is not looking for a marriage of love but rather a person to take care of his children.
I love the way Gwendolyn is able to make a connection with Walter’s children. They respond to her well after a few less than perfect shenanigans they try. The author shows us how important it is to give children a chance to explore their world yet be able to take direction when needed. I loved their time at the beach where Gwendolyn fishes with them and allows them to just be kids. This was such a sweet moment in the story and I could see how secure the children felt around her. There may have been a little incident as they were fishing but I will not mention it here.
The story is not only a look at matchmaking but a look at the Gilded Age where society is one that people think they are better than others. The author illustrates how we should not judge people because of their place in society. We should love each other equally and unconditionally . I loved the ending and can’t wait for the next book in the series.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.